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Cape Town National People’s Party president Badih Chaaban has decided to “focus on more important things”, so he’s abandoning his appeal against his assault conviction. It dates back five years to when he lost his temper and threw an espresso cup at a fellow party member.
Last week, his lawyers filed a notice at the Western Cape High Court, which indicated that he would no longer proceed with the appeal.
His attorney, Cornel Stander, confirmed that his client had abandoned the appeal. He said: “(Chaaban) has just decided to put it behind him. He has more important things to focus his energy on.”
Chaaban said he dropped the appeal because “the best I could do” was reduce the conviction from assault with the intent to commit grievous bodily harm, to common assault.
“So it was not worth the effort,” he said.
The conviction stems from an incident in September 2007, when he and fellow party members John van der Merwe and David Sasman met in Milnerton to discuss party matters.
He lost his temper during the meeting, and insulted them by calling them dogs and bastards, before throwing the cup at Van der Merwe. Van der Merwe sustained a gash to his forehead, between his eyes.
During the trial, Van der Merwe testified that he and Sasman had requested the meeting because they were unhappy about the party’s constitution.
He said Chaaban went “berserk” without provocation, picked up a pile of papers and threw them at Sasman. He then picked up the empty cup and threw it at Van der Merwe’s face.
Chaaban’s version was, however, that he had arranged the meeting to address various issues, including the fact that the pair had spent R2 200 which was supposed to have funded a trip to George, and had sent “destabilising” SMSes to other NPP members.
He claimed he had gestured wildly, sending papers into the air and causing a small espresso cup to bounce off the desk and strike Van der Merwe in the face.
However, in August 2009 magistrate Menze Tyulu fined Chaaban R5 000 or six months in prison. A further six months was suspended for five years.
The magistrate told him he needed rehabilitation because he couldn’t control his anger.